What is RTI? How it Started? Everything you should know about RTI


What does RTI stand for:

RTI stands for Right to Information Act. Now you have a very simple definition of RTI - RTI means that citizens can request for information from state or central government departments and offices. And such request should be processed in a timely way as mandated by the RTI Act.

But there is a bit more to the Meaning of RTI!

So we are, clearing all your doubts and queries and explaining what is RTI in simple terms.

What is RTI? What Does RTI Mean?

If that's the question on your mind, you are at the right place.

A lot of Indians have heard about RTI but are not very clear on what is RTI and what exactly is the meaning of RTI. It is not a very complex topic but due to lack of awareness, we get overwhelmed by the mention of it. RTI meaning is quite clear when you try to understand how to use it. In simple words, RTI means that any citizen of India can ask for any information which is supposed to be public knowledge.

Right to Information Act has been implemented by the Government of India to provide a right to its citizens to ask the relevant questions to the Government and various public utility service providers, in a practical manner. This was done to replace the earlier Freedom of information Act of 2002. The primary objective was also to help citizens get faster service from government agencies, as they can now ask why is a certain application or a process being delayed; and mainly to fulfill the aim of a corruption free India.

Are you still wondering what is RTI? We are happy to explain further..

Under the RTI Act, any citizen can seek information from any public or government authority (however, it should not pertain to national security and defense or some personal information) and the authority is liable to respond within a period of 30 days to the application.

Under RTI, Authority is liable to respond within 30 days

Now, the information disclosure in India is restricted by the Official Secrets Act of 1923 and various other special laws, but many of these have been relaxed in light of the the RTI act.

The RTI act also requires all public authorities to have their records computerised for wide spread relay, such that requests for information by the citizens are processed faster because of information categorisation.

Maybe now you are thinking, how do I go ahead with an RTI by myself:

The application process for filing an RTI involves both offline as well as online options. Some states do not allow for the online option just yet.

Good news:

You can file the RTI at OnlineRTI.com for simpler and faster process. Click here to Apply for RTI Online.

There are also different rules for different states and departments for which the RTI needs to be filed. But, at OnlineRTI we look to simplify the whole process to make it easy for you.

What Information can one seek under the RTI Act?

The RTI act allows any Indian citizen to seek answers from any Government authority. This could be even for things like a delayed IT refund, passport or a driving license, or details of an infrastructure or repairs project going on or completed. Even knowing the status of an FIR or the funds allocated to various government schemes, MP, MLA, PM relief fund etc. Students can even seek the copies of answer sheets from their Universities with this act.

The power of RTI and the applications are limitless. The idea is to ask the Right Questions!

Questions one can ask:

Why apply for RTI (Right to Information)? on OnlineRTI.com

What is RTI? How it all started?

It all started in Rajasthan, with the demand for right to information in a small village in 1987. A few labourers were refused their wages because of inconsistency in their performance. The labourers were soon joined by Mazdoor Kissan Shakti Sanghatan (MKSS), an activist group which demanded that the government produce required proof to check for the workers’ performance records.

Learn about how to file RTI in Rajasthan

Post a lot of protests, the MKSS finally received the copies of rolls, which also highlighted the corruption among the officials. This discrepancy provoked MKSS to carry out protests demanding the right to information.

RTI Movement in Rajasthan gave us the RTI Act

The initial draft of Right to Information – RTI

In 1996, the MKSS organized a 40 days protest in Beawar with over 100 activist groups. These later formed the National Campaign for people’s right to Information (NCPRI) which prepared the initial layout of the Right to information act along with the press council of India. Read more about this here.

This was not all. Until recently there were protests in various states. for the clearing and rightful implementation of the Right to Information Act. The Maharashtra protest led by Anna Hazare in Maharashtra, the New Delhi protest started by Arvind Kejriwal and the efforts in Rajasthan by Aruna Roy and Shekhar Singh are few of the protests that took place.

RTI Act - First Iteration at the Freedom of Information Act, 2002

The initial National Freedom of Information Bill 2000, merged with the draft prepared by the Shourie Committee in 1997, was unsatisfactory, but was passed in December 2002, as the Freedom of Information Act 2002.

The Role of National Advisory Council

The UPA Government came into power in May 2004, and started the National Advisory Council (NAC) to oversee the RTI act modification to make it more participatory to the general population.

The Final Version of the Right to Information Act (RTI act), 2005

This law – the Right to Information act - was passed by the Indian Parliament on 15th June 2005 and it came into effect on 12th October 2005.

The first application was given to a Pune police station in 2005.

Thanks to this act, today any citizen may request information from a government authority that has to be replied. Hopefully we have been able to answer your doubts on what is RTI.

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To learn more about the problems RTI can help with, see the video below:

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